I grew up with an interest in spirituality, but without a mentor to help me wade through the piles of literature I could never make much sense of it. I groped through all of books I could find, looking for a way to make spirituality a part of my life. The church on Sunday, and forget about God for the rest of week, form of religion that I was raised on just wasn’t enough for me.
As part of my quest, I went to college to study philosophy and religion. I began to explore the Eastern religions, and I discovered I had been practicing a form of meditation throughout my life. Whenever things got really tough, I would sit alone and just let every part of my body and mind relax. While these sessions were relaxing, they didn’t take me anywhere new, so I only relied on this practice when I was feeling stressed. Once I felt in control of my life, I would forget about sitting in silence and hit the books again, looking for an answer.
During my research for a paper, I found several references to the “transmission of light” from Buddhist master to student. I assumed the expression was just a poetic way of saying the teachings were passed down from teacher to student. My professors implied that the expression was just a metaphor, so I never thought much about it.
Unsatisfied with the purely historical approach to religion and philosophy at college, I began to check out the different teachers in the San Francisco Bay area. Most of them talked about spirituality, love, and compassion, but at the breaks during the meetings very few people actually displayed these qualities. Frustrated, I gave up on my search for a religion that fit me.
I decided to pull all I could from the ancient texts and put into practice those things that made sense to me. The most profound lesson I learned from books was rising above the emotions that left me drained, like anger and guilt. The books talked about purifying the mind, and I figured out if I thought about things that made me happy, I didn’t get sucked into feeling angry or guilty about anything. I had no idea if that was what the books meant by purity of mind, but it didn’t matter because I was happy.
After two years of college, a friend brought me to a meditation class. I was very suspicious about this woman she brought me to meet, but by the time the class was over, I knew I had to meet this woman’s teacher.
She brought me to meet Rama, Dr. Frederick Lenz, and I knew I had found someone who could teach me about meditation. He talked about Buddhism in plain English, using examples that were relevant to my life. And then we meditated. I had never seen so much gold light in a room, nor had I ever felt so at peace.
By the time I got home, I had convinced myself the light was just a neat trick using some kind of hidden spotlights. The other students were all very happy and excited about their lives, and much of what Rama had said made sense to me, so I decided to return for the next event.
When I meditated with Rama again, the light was even brighter. During the break, I carefully checked for hidden spotlights. There were none. Then it slowly dawned on me as I recalled the Buddhist texts I had read. The transmission of light was meant to be taken literally; these Buddhist masters were actually pouring light out of their bodies and empowering their students. This light that made me feel so at peace was the secret teachings referred to in the ancient texts. I could hardly believe my luck at finding someone who could actually do the transmission of light.
I told others about Rama, but most people would not believe that such a thing was possible. Seeing golden light fill a room was beyond anything they could imagine, and most of them refused my invitations to meet my teacher.
I took what my teacher gave to me, put it into practice, and watched my life become a magnificent mosaic. Each time I meditated, new possibilities opened before me. Rama taught me how to use one-pointed concentration to learn about computers, and how to transfer that skill to other areas of my life. He taught the underlying principles of Buddhism, the same ones I struggled with in my philosophy classes, using American ideals and concepts. Rama made the theories of Enlightenment discussed in the Buddhist books a reality that was possible for me, in this very life.
And for that gift, I am very grateful.
To learn more about my adventures with Rama, read Worlds of Power, Worlds of Light.